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The Ruppert & Gladys Downing Diversity Scholarship

Downing Diversity Scholarship graphic and photo

New Scholarship Supports MSW Students Matriculating from HBCUs

At the School of Social Work, we firmly believe in the transformative power of education and the positive impact it can have on individuals and communities. As part of our commitment to promoting diversity and social justice, we recognize the importance of providing opportunities to talented students from underrepresented backgrounds who possess a passion for driving meaningful change in society.

We are pleased to announce the new Ruppert & Gladys Downing Diversity Scholarship, dedicated to fostering diversity and inclusivity in social work by recruiting talented graduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to our MSW program.

This scholarship was established by Associate Professor Ruppert Downing (MSW, ’66) and his wife Gladys (EdM, ’70). Professor Downing worked for the School of Social Work for 33 years (1969-2003). He specialized in mental health, working with individuals, families, groups, and communities. As Director of Field Education for the SSW, he helped develop out-of-state placements in areas where social workers were not traditionally found. Professor Downing also spent much of his time recruiting students from historically black colleges and universities to the MSW program.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have played a crucial role in nurturing academic excellence, leadership, and cultural awareness among African-American students. HBCUs have a rich legacy of producing some of the most influential social advocates, civil rights leaders, and change-makers in our nation’s history. By actively recruiting HBCU graduates to our MSW program, we aim to further empower and amplify the voices of these bright minds, tapping into their unique experiences, perspectives, and insights.

The Downing Diversity Scholarship aims to provide financial support to exceptional HBCU graduates who wish to pursue an on-campus MSW degree at the School of Social Work. This scholarship will cover a portion of tuition expenses for the MSW program, reducing the students’ financial burden.

Ruppert and Gladys’s generosity has helped to create more opportunities for social work students who otherwise may not pursue graduate education. Together, we can have a significant impact on the future of social work through diversity, inclusivity, and a shared commitment to social justice.

If you’re interested in supporting scholarships like this, please contact Nathan Goebel.

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